Contradictions of Calvinism

by  Mike Benson

Bad news travels fast–especially in religious circles. The latest fatality is Dr. Jack Schaaps, “pastor” of the 15,000 member First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. Schaaps is 54, married with two children, and has served with the congregation for about eleven years.

He’s also been involved in an illicit relationship with a 16-year-old female church member.

According to news reports, a deacon noticed a text message on Schaap’s cell phone. The image showed preacher and girl engaged in a kiss. When confronted by his church board, Schaaps admitted to having an affair with the youth.

From a legal standpoint, the preacher is not in trouble because the legal age of consent for sexual activity in Indiana is 16. But from a professional, marital, and moral standpoint, Schaaps is in all kinds of hot water.

But here’s the kicker. Jack Schaaps is a Calvinist. Let that marinade around your brain stem for just a moment.

One of the petals of Calvinism (e.g., TULIP) is the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints–what is popularly known as “once-saved, always-saved.” The idea is that once God has saved you, there is absolutely nothing you can do to be lost. Period. Dot. End of sentence.

However popular the doctrine may be within the religious world today, it is simply not in harmony with the teaching of Scripture. In reality, there are over 2,500 places in the Bible that teach a child of God can sin and be lost. Here’s a brief sampling from the New Testament:

  • In the Parable of the Talents, the servant who buried his one talent was cast into outer darkness (Matthew 25:14-30).
  • In the Parable of the Soils, some who become children of God have their faith choked by thorns (Mark 4:14-20).
  • Some believe for a time, but, fall away because they succumb to temptation (Luke 8:13).
  • Jesus is the vine and Christians are the branches. A branch that does not bear fruit is cut off and burned.
  • Judas fell (Acts 1:25).
  • Ananias and Sapphira were Christians who died in their sins (Acts 5:1-11).
  • Simon was in danger of losing his soul (Acts 8:20-22).
  • If a child of God lives according to the flesh, he will die spiritually (Romans 8:12-13).
  • The brother in the church at Corinth who had his father’s wife was in a lost condition until he repented (1 Corinthians 5:1-3, 5; 2 Corinthians 2:3-11; Revelation 21:27).
  • A weak brother can perish (1 Corinthians 8:11).
  • Even Paul could have been castaway (1 Corinthians 9:27).
  • The Israelites fell and were lost (1 Corinthians 10:1-12).
  • Some Christians in Galatia had already fallen because they had turned back to elements of the old law (Galatians 5:2-4).
  • See also 1 Chronicles 28:9; 2 Chronicles 15:2; Ezekiel 3:20; 18:21-25.

The episode in Dr. Schaap’s life is heart-breaking. He has sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind. His influence has been destroyed, his marriage has been damaged, and our society continues its downward spiral into the moral abyss.

But perhaps what wrenches my heart most of all is that many, like Dr. Schaaps, do not choose to see in the Word what is clearly illustrated in his life.

How can a person claim to be saved in Christ when his life and teaching are obviously not Christ-like?

13 thoughts on “Contradictions of Calvinism

    1. He fell into sin. Dont’t we? Samson did, Peter did, David did and so did many. Yet the doctriea of grace remained true. We should not validate the truth of a doctrine by what man does but by what God says in His word. This will be the greatest scheme Satan would use to draw mmen away from the greatest doctrine that exalts the sovereignty of God.

  1. I have never believe in once saved always saved , but I do believe that if a person is called by the.Spirit of GOD to repent and does is saved. Therefore I feel he was possibly saved in the beginning , but the doctrine he was taught was false therefore he was taught that no matter what you do its ok God doesn’t hold you accountable . And futhemore if a person reads the Bible and still believes this way then its their choice to continue in such a manner that they would put their soul in jeapordy .

  2. Jack Schaap? A Calvinist? Either you know nothing about Schaap or you don’t know Calvinism. Schaap does not believe in Unconditional Election (the U in TULIP) and teaches a salesman way of evangelism.

  3. I suppose the apostle John would be among those mentioned by Chester Callan 😉 :

    1John2:19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.

    “One of the petals of Calvinism (e.g., TULIP) is the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints–what is popularly known as “once-saved, always-saved.” The idea is that once God has saved you, there is absolutely nothing you can do to be lost.”

    OSAS as it is typically taught is NOT the same as the doctrine of “perseverance.” That’s actually part of the reason that the “P” in TULIP is “perseverance” and not just “preservation.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lordship_salvation_controversy

    The actual issue you are discussing relates not to “calvinism” but to the “lordship” debate linked above. Calvinists like John MacArthur teach that Jesus should be not only your Savior but also your Lord. So-called “free grace” (“weak grace” is more accurate) advocates like Zane Hodges would affirm the OSAS that you describe: that once you “believe” you are saved, regardless of how you choose to live afterwards.

    Calvinists believe that all of salvation is of God from beginning to end (Heb12:2; Phil1:4) and that God’s grace is powerful to change lives. Although we don’t expect to be perfectly Christ-like in this life, we see 2Peter1 as teaching that spiritual growth is how you “make certain about His calling and choosing you.” (v10) We do not “persevere” in order to earn salvation but where the Spirit is active in transforming someone into the image of Christ, their actions will tend to reflect that.

    We would agree with you that if Dr. Jack Schaaps’ response to this situation is rebellious and self-serving, he needs to be removed not only from public ministry, but also from church membership. OTOH (just as with King David in the OT and the fellow shacked up with his step-mom in 1Cor5) if his response is in keeping with repentance, he can be assured that God is both willing and able to forgive.

    The thing is, though, that only God knows the heart. I don’t know that I would say that a guy like the one in 1Cor5 was “unsaved.” But during that period where his lifestyle – that pattern of unrepentant disobedience – was so out of step with the Spirit, it was right that the church could not offer him assurance of salvation and needed to bar him from the Lord’s Table, and appeal to him as they would appeal to an unbeliever. The other side, of course, is that should someone like Dr. Schaaps recognize the destructiveness of their choices and repent, are you also going to reflect “Christ-likeness” in your forgiveness as the Corinthian church did when their prodigal returned (or act more like the elder brother in that parable)?

    2Cor2:7“…you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him.”

  4. Just read the IFB doctrine – they definitely deny several points of the TULIP and seem to hold to “once saved, always saved” which, again, is just a perversion of the calvinist doctrine of “perseverance” which teaches that the elect will endure to the end (Mark13:13) thanks solely to the power of God (Jude24;1Cor1:8). Not that calvinists would never mess up like that, but calling him a calvinist because he holds to half a point out of 5 is a bit of a stretch…

  5. Um, he is not a Calvinist. They borrow one point from Calvinism, but they deny it outright. I used to be an IFB, they hate Calvinism.

    In fact, he even did a video on the subject: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItwITYTF1xA (Yes, I know, he’s full of nonsense.)

    But, regardless, he’s not a Calvinist. Please don’t insult us actual Calvinists.

  6. I grew up in that church. I know schaap. He is not a Calvinist. You could describe him as a Finneyist or semi-Pelagian, but he prefers to call himself a biblicist.

  7. Regardless of whether the individual referred to in the article holds to “one point” or “all points” of Calvinism it’s moot because any “points” Calvinism’s TULIP are false.

    Calvinism offers no hope. It turns the hope of salvation into hopelessness for all of the unconditionally rejected. One can never be sure if he/she is saved or lost because there is no evidence of whether or not a person is a part of God’s “unconditionally elected” that receives the “limited atonement” of Jesus’ blood…because remember, if we say works are evidence then we must also say that the said works play a role in salvation, but Calvinists can’t have that.

    Calvinist’s love to say they are relying completely upon the “sovereignty of God” but at the same time they don’t believe God is big/sovereign enough to allow people to have free will. This is really what it boils down to.

    Take for example one of the comments above that says, “Calvinists believe that all of salvation is of God from beginning to end (Heb12:2; Phil1:4) and that God’s grace is powerful to change lives. Although we don’t expect to be perfectly Christ-like in this life, we see 2Peter1 as teaching that spiritual growth is how you “make certain about His calling and choosing you.” (v10)”

    No argument about salvation originating or ending with God! It’s God’s grace after all; but either a person plays a part in his/her salvation or they do not – it can’t be both ways. God’s salvation is either a gift taken through faith or a “gift” forced upon a person – which is the furthest thing from the meaning of the word gift.

    Perseverance of the saints according to Calvinism is a fallacy. It’s simple to show how this is true: If one is unconditionally elect then they cannot help but persevere; yet, if a person is not a part of the unconditionally elect they cannot persevere no matter what happens. That’s the ridiculousness of Calvinism. It talks of responsibility while saying no responsibility exists!

    This last reason alone is enough to show that Calvinism is a contradiction.

  8. Permit me to share a few thoughts, if I may:

    1. Whether or not Mr. Schaaps endorses the entire blossom or just one petal of Calvinistic doctrine, to suggest that that he’s not a Calvinist, while he obviously endorses at least one element of Calvin’s doctrine is inconsistent at the very least, my friends. We can debate semantics, but that’s not the point of my article.

    2. Mr. Schaaps preached the idea that a Christian cannot fall and be lost. That is undeniable. DID HE FALL? (Please answer that question).

    3. Are we hurt and disappointed when a man falls? Yes. Should we preach that God can forgive? Absolutely. Having said that, that is NOT the focus of the article I submitted to Forthright. Mr. Schaaps was in a continual, immoral relationship. Instead of debating whether or not he endorsed some or all of Calvinism, instead of trying to defend him in his blatant sin, instead of trying to explain the minutiae of denominational doctrine, LET’S ANSWER THE QUESTION, friends: “He considers himself a Christian… “What was Mr. Schaaps’ spiritual status, as a child of God (his claim), during the time he was purposely engaging in immorality?

  9. 1.Mike Benson said: “…to suggest that that he’s not a Calvinist, while he obviously endorses at least one element of Calvin’s doctrine is inconsistent at the very least?”

    You are contending that he teaches the calvinist doctrine of “perseverance” which teaches that believers will endure to the end. He does not teach that at all. To call him a calvinist when he specifically denies being a calvinist and teaches against calvinism is seriously inconsistent (at best). In the youtube video, he claims to be a “Biblicist” so apparently it is Biblicist doctrine that is suspicious…or else the flesh is a temptation for pretty much all of us…

    2.Mike Benson said: “Mr. Schaaps preached the idea that a Christian cannot fall and be lost. DID HE FALL?”

    Yes, he did preach that. And in terms of 1Tim3:7, sure, he has fallen into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. He was wrong, and if he continues on that path, he still is wrong…and we would agree that his soul is in danger. Even if he repents immediately, he is disqualified as a church leader (1Tim3) and the consequences of his actions will remain, particularly in terms of damaged relationships.

    3.Mike Benson said: “What was Mr. Schaaps’ spiritual status, as a child of God (his claim), during the time he was purposely engaging in immorality?

    As I posted before: “The thing is, though, that only God knows the heart…But during that period where his lifestyle – that pattern of unrepentant disobedience – was so out of step with the Spirit, it was right that the church could not offer him assurance of salvation and needed to bar him from the Lord’s Table, and appeal to him as they would appeal to an unbeliever…Calvinists would agree with you that if Dr. Jack Schaaps’ response to this situation is rebellious and self-serving, he needs to be removed not only from public ministry, but also from church membership.”

    So from a practical standpoint, calvinists agree with you that the bible teaches that someone who claims to be a believer but lives in unrepentant immorality (such as in this case) is to be judged by the church (1Cor5). While he is unrepentant, he does need to be warned as an unbeliever rather than offered assurance. It is definitely possible that he is acting like an unbeliever because he is one (not all Israel was true Israel and not every church member or pastor is really a Christian). But we are not to judge in a proud, self-righteous sense – supposing that we can see his heart perfectly and know he is in a “lost condition” – but in hopes that challenging his hypocrisy will be the means of God bringing him to repentance and restoring him to the fellowship of believers.

    With regard to the underlying issues, though, you seem to be saying that Christians are constantly waffling from “saved” status to “unsaved” based on how good they’ve been this particular week and no calvinist would interpret those passages as you do. Calvinists believe that God declares the end from the beginning (Isa46:10) so I don’t think David had any risk of dying in his sin before Nathan came to confront him, for example (Psa139:16). I don’t think David was “unsaved” during that period but he did need to confess his guilt and repent.

    But it is wise not to have the sort of assurance that takes salvation for granted. And while calvinists teach assurance, it is not that sort of “absolute” assurance that the “free grace” camp teaches. But conflating Schaap with calvinism really muddies your main point.

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